SUPER LUXURY’S Guide To Gig Etiquette (With An Eye On The Big Time)
Whether they admit it or not, every band wants to ascend the music industry’s greasy pole. Whether they’re dreaming of boxes of Ferrero Roche piled as high as the ceiling in their dressing room, a drum hardware case stuffed full of rotisserie chicken or someone to rub oil into their shoe laces, everyone has an idea of what the “Big Time” could mean for them.
In order to hit popular gold, you have to have all of the right elements in place – great songs, a strong work ethic, a hard working management team and booking agent behind you. One thing a lot of bands overlook, however, is “Gig Etiquette”. How to act when you’re in a band can be “Make or Break” when it comes to securing future gigs, being perceived as a band people “Want To Work With” or generally helping cultivate an image of a band people love.
With this in mind, we approached Super Luxury, arguably Britain’s best band right now. Super Luxury are no strangers to the good life and having reached the top rung of Britain’s rock scene, Super Luxury know a thing or two about success. So get a Schnapps, sit back and enjoy this handy guide to etiquette for bands at gigs. You never know, follow this guide and you might just go places you never dreamed of.
Meeting and Greeting
When you first get to a gig, do not under any circumstances acknowledge the other bands. The music industry is one of the most competitive businesses there is. Layers of competition are stacked on top of each other and held together with stickier layers of competition like a competitive treacle cake.
“Competition x competition = competition^2” – Gene Simmons (Kiss)
The other bands are your enemies (there’s only room for one at the top) and conversing with them or even looking them in the eye for one second could give too much away about your long term career plans. Maintain an air of cool aloofness at all times.
The only person you should be speaking to is the promoter or other such industry men. A cursory “huh” (or similar noise) and a raise of your sunglasses will be enough for them.
Never ever, under any circumstances lend any of the other bands your gear. As above, the music business is a competitive minefield. Therefore if anyone asks to borrow equipment from you, the answer is “no”. If they have not planned out their path to the big time carefully (which includes bringing all the right gear), that is their fault.
Make sure you come up with as hairbrained, unbelievable answer as to why they can’t borrow it as possible. For instance “you can’t borrow my drums because they have an in built safety feature, and If they are touched by hands that are not mine, spikes will come out and maim you.”
As a band going places you should feel entitled to borrow as much gear as you want. Do not, under any circumstances ask the other band if you can borrow it, simply help yourself. Remember, you are the one who is going to big time city (straight down the big time highway and arriving at the big time motel). One day the band whose gear you borrowed will say “[INSERT NAME] from [INSERT BIG TIME BAND] once borrowed my drum stick holder”.
“As a band you are entitled to borrow as much gear as you want. I once borrowed Ozzy Osbourne’s shoes. They had Velcro fastenings because it was 1980.” – Bill Wyman (The Rolling Stones)
Often promoters will leave out beers for the bands. Remember, you are the ones going to the moon, not the other bands. You are the big time band of tomorrow and you should get used to enjoying luxuries like this. The other bands (whose careers will not be taking off like yours) will try and drink the band beers, operating on a vague notion that they are “to share”. They are not. They are a taste of the big time and you should drink as many of them as you possibly can.
Watching Other Bands
Never under any circumstances should you watch the other support bands. They are your sworn competition and listening to their music could only pollute your creative ideas. Sit in the dressing room drinking the band beers. Or if there is no dressing room, sit in the bar area or outside the venue having a cigarette.
If the headline band is big time however it is good idea to at least catch a bit of one of their songs / tweet a photo with a caption along the lines of “[INSERT BIG TIME BAND] killing it”. It is imperative for your future success that you butter up the other big time bands and photos tweeted from the green room are evidence to use for said buttering.
As a real life example to end on, we (Super Luxury) once supported the band A (who would go on to have a hit with the song “Nothing”). We used a polaroid camera (this was 2002 so we had to be creative) to take a photo of Daniel P Carter, the band’s bass player at the time and showed it to him. His response was “You have successfully buttered me up and are on your way to the big time”. So there, it really works and Super Luxury is a living successful example. Remember follow the 3 B’s (“Be creative. Butter up. Bands”).
Remember, good gig etiquette is but a small piece of the escalator to the big time. Treat gig etiquette like one of the metal stairs with the grooves in. If the other stairs and black rubber things that you hold onto on the escalator (symbolism for management team etc) are not in place, you will fail to ascend, but get everything right and your spot at the top is guaranteed.
“Good luck and see you at the top, we’ll have a can of Tuborg waiting for you!” – Super Luxury